Monday, February 18, 2008

Is it a good idea to teach Dreamweaver?

Another interesting topic in the blogosphere is the debate over Dreamweaver's role in student journalism.Given that I have just started getting to grips with the software,I was very interested to read Dave Lee's thoughts on the matter

He argues that

as print journalists, need to know about the printing presses is that they exist and they work. It would be a waste of time to think otherwise.
So why don’t we take the same approach to learning online journalism?
If you’re an online journalism student and find yourself aimlessly clicking away at Dreamweaver and wondering “What’s the point?”, you’re not alone. There are hundreds of us.
and was

astonished to find I was “studying” online journalism using software that was out of date before I’d even started my A-Levels

I am no technophobe Dave,and the arguments about whether it's up to date,whether it is used or not is neither here nor there.What I am interested in is being able to write a professional journalism piece that can be easily read online and acquiring the tools to do that.

My online tutor Andy Dickinson refered to the debate as being rather along the lines of the straw when I asked for his comments on Friday after reading Dave's article.He replies to Dave,

I’m not defending Dreamweaver (or attacking it) it is what it is – a tool. Just like a CMS is a tool

Over at Mindy McAdams' blog,she takes the view that

I’m a firm believer that a couple of weeks spent on HTML and CSS will come in handy somewhere down the road for many journalism students who go on to a career in journalism. But Dreamweaver? If you’re teaching a Web design course, it will be useful after the drills in HTML and CSS, but not before. If it’s not a full-semester class about Web design, though, I don’t see a need for Dreamweaver

So as journalism student which is the right way to go.I think that I agree with Andy in that yes you are not going to find its use in future employment but it is a tool for an initial learning in training for web journalism.


Ian Douglas writing on the Telegraph's technology blog agrees with Dave

no major news website uses Dreamweaver, a fine but limited web design tool, to make their live pages. If it's used for anything at all, it's to create page templates that will be re-created within a content management system that handles the great databases of articles we all compete to deliver.

As the tools become easier to use (the 'complicated' acronyms are easier to learn about than shorthand, and considerably more useful), the closer to the sharp end of publishing the reporters will come. The bloggers already know that and look on with bemusement when they see the number of 'web-bods' between writing and sending live

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Using Dreamweaver can be the lazy way out at times, but if people are encouraged to utilise the "code" view, can be a very good way of learning the basics of HTML.

As a journalist, I doubt you are ever going to be asked to code/design a website. It'll simply be a case of copying and pasting your story in to a no doubt bespoke CMS, assigning appropriate links and images, and then submitting it to the site.

In fact, it wont be too dissimilar to the process you go through when adding content to this very blog.